Startup automaker Lordstown Motors has announced that it purchased the General Motors Lordstown plant for an undisclosed price. The deal reportedly includes the 6.2 million-square-foot plant, along with all the robots and other equipment inside from GM. Lordstown Motors intends to start building electric pickup trucks at the facility late next year.
While GM announced the sale earlier in the year, it won the right to sell the plant as part of its new labor agreement with the United Auto Workers Union. The plant, opened by GM in 1966, was closed earlier this year in a controversial move by the automaker. GM’s refusal to move some of its production from plants in Mexico to the U.S. to keep it open was a major factor in the union’s decision to strike against the company. Although numerous concessions were made in the contract negotiations, GM refused to continue production at the plant.
Lordstown Motor plans to start production with a full-sized pickup, followed by a mid-sized truck and then a commercial-industrial utility vehicle. Steve Burns, the CEO and primary owner of Lordstown Motors, plans to have a production prototype of the company’s pickup ready in time for the Detroit auto show in June of next year. That pickup, called the Endurance, is expected to sell for about $52,000.
Burns called the deal particularly attractive because everything was included. He said, “Normally all the equipment has been stripped out. This is the first time I’ve heard of anyone getting a fully functional plant.” He continued on to say, “The only way we can do this is if we buy a ready-to-build factory.”
Lordstown Motors plans to hire about 400 employees to work on the development and manufacturing of its electric vehicles starting in September 2020. Burns expects to pay union-level wages of $32 an hour and intends to have the workers represented by the UAW. He would prefer to hire workers who previously worked at the plant, as he says they have the skill sets he is looking for. That may be difficult, as many of the people who worked at the plant before it closed have relocated to take other jobs with GM.